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Alabama 492 articles

Whistleblower exposes potential fraud against Arizona electricity consumers

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Arizona electricity consumers could challenge rate hikes for electrical service in light of a whistleblower’s allegations that a former commissioner of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) got “too cozy” with the head of the state’s largest electricity provider. The whistleblower, a former executive assistant at the ACC, made numerous allegations in the letter concerning an improper relationship between former commissioner Gary Pierce and Arizona Public Service CEO Don Brandt. Mr. Pierce was one of the five commissioners who set electricity rates that Arizona residents must pay before he retired in December. The letter was sent to the Arizona Attorney General’s ... Read More

Judge allows new expert for plaintiffs in Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuit

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A Philadelphia State judge rejected Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutical attorney’s claims that the company was prejudiced by a new expert witness for plaintiffs in a lawsuit alleging Janssen’s antipsychotic drug Risperdal caused a boy to grow large female breasts. The condition is known as gynocomastia. Defense attorneys argued that Janssen had been disadvantaged by the new expert’s testimony, which contained different opinions than those of a previous expert witness. The previous witness suddenly withdrew from the case after defense attorneys accused the doctor of failing to comply with state law when he examined the plaintiff in his home state ... Read More

Alabama fireworks factory explosion kills two workers, injures four others

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OWENS CROSS ROADS, Ala. — A north Alabama fireworks factory explosion Friday morning that left two women dead and four other employees injured was not the first deadly blast at the plant. Family members of some of the victims of Friday’s explosion condemned Ultratec Special Effects for its poor history of worker safety. The plant, which produces pyrotechnic special effects and displays for movies, concerts, and other events, was racked by another explosion in 1999 that killed one person. Aimee Cothran Bearden’s family told Huntsville’s WHNT that “Aimee was killed doing a job she was dedicated to, because she was ... Read More

Alabama auto parts manufacturer fined after worker falls into acid tank

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PELL CITY, Ala. — “Imagine being on the job and suddenly you are horrifically injured,” a report by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) states. “Adding to your pain, you learn later company management knew of the hazards that injured you and did nothing to stop [them] from happening.” OSHA, the U.S. Labor Department agency charged with regulating worker safety and health, is alluding to what happened to a maintenance worker at WKW Erbsloeh North America’s plant in Pell City, Alabama. WKW manufactures aluminum parts for the auto industry. According to OSHA, the maintenance worker was helping to maintain some ... Read More

Judge shoots down mistrial bid by Janssen in Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuit

risperdal

A Pennsylvania state judge rejected a bid for a mistrial this week from Johnson & Johnson unit Janssen Pharmaceuticals in a lawsuit alleging the company’s antipsychotic drug Risperdal caused an adolescent boy to grow large female breasts. Attorneys for Janssen argued that a mistrial was warranted because plaintiff’s attorneys were trying to pass off an expert witness to testify about Risperdal side effects when that expert, a physician in Pennsylvania, was not licensed in Alabama, where the plaintiffs lived and where physician had examined the boy. The physician, Dr. David Goldstein, had opted to withdraw from the Risperdal gynecomastia lawsuit ... Read More

Janssen knew Risperdal could cause boys to grow breasts

risperdal

Johnson & Johnson unit Janssen Pharmaceuticals knew for years that its antipsychotic drug Risperdal could cause the abnormal growth of breasts in boys and young men, yet the company failed to warn the mother of an Alabama boy or his doctors of these “distressing results,” the mother’s attorney told a Philadelphia jury. “We’re going to show you that Janssen knew all the time that he took the drug that the drug caused an increase in prolactin levels, and that it was associated with children and adolescents having this distressing result,” the attorney said. Austin Pledger, now 20, was prescribed Risperdal ... Read More

Texas becomes latest state to ban Trinity ET-Plus guardrails

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Texas has become the latest state to ban the use of ET-Plus guardrail systems made by Dallas-based Trinity Industries from its highways over safety concerns, bringing the number of states to blacklist the guardrails to more than 30. The ET-Plus guardrails, made by the Trinity Highway Products division of Trinity Industries, came under fire nationwide after a whistleblower sued the company on behalf of the federal government and won. In his lawsuit, whistleblower Joshua Harman alleged that Trinity modified the design of the ET-Plus guardrails in 2005 to save money, but failed to notify the Federal Highway Administration about the ... Read More

State Farm appeals verdict in whistleblower lawsuit involving Hurricane Katrina damages

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NEW ORLEANS, La. – The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments Feb. 5 as Illinois-based State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. appeals a verdict that it pay $3 million in damages and legal fees stemming from a whistleblower lawsuit. A Mississippi jury sided with sisters Cori and Kerri Rigsby of Ocean Springs, Miss., in 2013, who filed a lawsuit under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, which authorizes private citizens to sue on behalf of the federal government. The sisters accused State Farm of manipulating damage reports after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in ... Read More

Listeria illnesses, deaths linked to Happy Apples Company prepackaged caramel apples

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Happy Apples Company of Washington, Mo., is recalling its prepackaged caramel apples after the products were found to be the source of a listeria monocytogenes outbreak that sickened 29 and killed five in 10 states. All 29 people who were sickened were hospitalized, and nine of the illnesses occurred in pregnant women. The recall comes about a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a warning to consumers not to eat prepackaged caramel apples as it investigated which commercially made brands were responsible for the outbreak. Though the apples are most popular around Halloween, the CDC ... Read More

FDA considers legal action against people selling pure powdered caffeine

caffeine powder - photo by WILX news

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is looking into building a case against people who sell pure powdered caffeine to stop online sales of the potent substance that has been blamed for several illnesses and at least two deaths. The news comes just months after the FDA issued a safety alert to consumers about pure caffeine powder after the agency learned of the death of Logan James Stiner, a high school athlete who died after consuming a lethal dose of the substance last July. Pure powdered caffeine, which is sold in bulk as a dietary supplement, is essentially 100 percent caffeine. ... Read More